Pennsylvania 811 & the 811 Hotline
811 is the national number designated to protect landscapers/contractors from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines while working on digging projects. 811 helps access locator services in order to mark the approximate location of underground lines, pipes and cables, in order to dig safely. The purpose of Pennsylvania 811/Call Before You Dig is to prevent damage to underground facilities and infrastructure of all types, through providing efficient and effective communications network between project owners, designers, excavators, and facility owners. The site houses a resource center, FAQ section, and tabs specific to the user searching the site, including homeowners, project owners, excavators, emergency responders, facilitate owners, and others.
Finding Pipeline Operators and Existing Pipelines
To determine the name of pipeline operators for existing pipelines, go to the Pipeline Information Centers interactive map. This map will allow you to zoom in on a specific area of interest. If you click on the area, a pop up box will appear giving you basic information on the pipeline operator. If you know the name of the pipeline operator, additional contact information can be found here.
Finding Pipeline Easements
To get detailed information about a specific parcel, you should contact the Chester County Recorder of Deeds and provide them with the parcel number of the property you wish to learn more about. The Recorder of Deeds can also help you locate a deed and determine if a pipeline company holds an easement on it.
Chester County Department of Emergency Services (DES)
The DES Pipeline Response Information sheet provides a high-level overview of the response to a pipeline incident by local and county public safety officials. Exact actions taken during a pipeline incident will vary greatly based on the specific situation. This information sheet can be viewed here.
High Consequence Areas
What is a High Consequence Area (HCA)?
The term High Consequences Area (or HCA) often appears in documents dealing with pipelines and pipeline safety. In broad terms, an HCA is a buffer that extends several hundred feet to either side of a segment of pipeline which passes through developed areas where people live in an urban or suburban setting, or where they frequently gather, like a school. Pipelines within an HCA are required to have extra safety features or extra precautions must be taken by pipeline operators depending on the type of pipeline, the material being conveyed, and other factors. To learn more about High Consequence Areas and how they are determined click here.
Regulatory Agencies and Information
The mission of PHMSA is to protect people and the environment from the risks of hazardous materials transportation. To do this, they establish national policy, set and enforce standards, educate, and conduct research to prevent incidents. PHMSA encourages everyone to learn about pipelines and the products they carry, as well as learn a few simple steps to help ensure pipeline safety in your community.
The purpose of this PHMSA report is to assist local governments and developers in better understanding pipeline risks and to provide a context for the use of recommended practices for development near hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines. The report was developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Pipeline Safety Awareness Website — Official US Government Website for Pipeline Safety Awareness
More than 2.6 million miles of pipelines deliver energy throughout the country. The US DOT develops and enforces regulations, and partners with states who oversee most of the intrastate pipelines. This website, provided by the Office of Pipeline Safety under PHMSA, is dedicated to pipeline safety awareness. Through regulation and integrity management programming, PHMSA has reduced accidents and increased accountability for managing risk. According to the website, serious pipeline incidents have dropped by more than half over the past twenty years.
Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 and the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979
There are two statutes that provide the framework for the Federal pipeline safety program. The Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 as amended (NGPSA) authorizes the Department to regulate pipeline transportation of natural (flammable, toxic, or corrosive) gas and other gases as well as the transportation and storage of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Similarly, the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979 as amended (HLPSA) authorizes the Department to regulate pipeline transportation of hazardous liquids (crude oil, petroleum products, anhydrous ammonia, and carbon dioxide). Both of these Acts have been recodified as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 601.
Each state that currently participates in the federal pipeline safety program has adopted pipeline safety laws for intrastate pipeline operators and facilities. In addition to identifying the department, commission, or agency that is responsible for administering the State's program, those laws establish the pipeline safety standards for owners and operators of intrastate pipeline facilities. At a minimum, these standards must meet the requirements codified in the Federal Pipeline Safety Laws (49 U.S.C. §§ 60101 et seq.) and Regulations (49 C.F.R. Parts 190-199). The Pennsylvania legislature has empowered the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to direct and enforce safety standards for pipeline facilities and to regulate safety practices of certificated utilities engaged in the transportation of natural gas and other gas by pipeline. The following PUC website links provide information relevant to pipeline safety:
Non-Regulatory Pipeline Safety Resources
The Pipeline Safety Trust promotes pipeline safety through education and advocacy, increased access to information, and partnerships with residents, safety advocates, government, and industry, resulting in safer communities and a healthier environment. The Trust was created after a pipeline spilled 225,000 gallons of gasoline into a creek that exploded in Washington State, killing three. This and other tragedies have made communities look more closely at how pipeline safety, energy policies and practices affect residents and their environments.
The Pipeline Safety Trust holds an annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year's theme was "Every Conflict is an Opportunity for Positive Change." Each session has a link to download its associated presentation. Sessions focused on a variety of safety, enforcement, and regulatory topics. A session entitled "Pipelines 101 - A Primer for Beginners" could be of particular interest to those new to pipeline issues. You can view the conference agenda and presentations here.
Landowner's Guide To Pipelines
This Guide, written by the Pipeline Safety Trust (PST) is intended to provide landowners with basic information about the pipeline system, how pipelines are operated and regulated, what rights and responsibilities you may have as a current or future landowner with a pipeline on your property, and where to find more information. While this this guide, describe the different types of pipelines, most of the discussion about property rights, easements, and eminent domain is pertinent to the large transmission and gathering pipelines, than to the small distribution lines that deliver gas to homes and businesses.
Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA)
The goal of the Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA) is to reduce risks and improve the safety of affected communities and transmission pipelines through implementation of recommended practices related to risk-informed land use near transmission pipelines. The PIPA recommended practices describe actions that can be taken by key stakeholders relative to proposed changes in land use or new development adjacent to existing transmission pipelines. Local governments, property developers/owners, transmission pipeline operators, and state real estate commissions have key roles to enhance pipeline safety and ensure the protection of people, the environment and the pipeline infrastructure. The PIPA Final Report: Enhancing Pipeline Safety Through Land Use Planning can be viewed here.
PIPA Summary Report for Elected and Appointed Officials
This information was published in support of an agreement which the National Association of Counties (NACo) signed with PHMSA in 2008 to help build county officials' awareness and capacity to improve transmission pipeline safety, through development and implementation of local land use practices. Information was taken directly from the PIPA Report with the purpose of conveying the report's findings and distilling the information specifically important to NACo members, including county elected and appointed officials, planners, emergency managers and other key county staff.
The mission of the Pipeline Safety Coalition (PSC) is to "To gather and serve as a clearinghouse for factual, unbiased information; to increase public awareness and participation through education; to build partnerships with residents, safety advocates, government and industry; and to improve public, personal and environmental safety in pipeline issues." The PSC provides community mentoring and works to facilitate respectful and productive conversations between citizens, environmental groups, local/state and government officials and pipeline operators.
The Mayors' Council on Pipeline Safety (MCPS) was created around two tragedies: San Bruno, California's 2010 transmission pipeline explosion (Pacific Gas & Electric), and the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania's gas distribution pipeline explosion. In the aftermath of these tragedies the mayors became advocates for defining reasonable and predictable regulations to safeguard communities, including tighter federal regulations, and that cities be proactive in ensuring higher safety standards. The MCPS is a national team of mayors, elected officials, fire chiefs, first responders, government and non-government organizations, educators and citizens.
The inaugural Mayors' Council on Pipeline Safety conference was held May 14-15 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Click here to see the conference highlights, including the agenda, speakers and presentations.
The Common Ground Alliance (CGA), formed in 2000 as a result of a US DOT study, promote best practices that result in the reduction and prevention of underground facilities throughout North America. The CGA offers resources and guidance to protect our utilities and those who dig near them, including a section titled "Damage Prevention in Your State," which displays damage prevention information, local contacts and rules for safe digging. You can view Pennsylvania's here.
Additionally, CGA operates a Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT), which allows the submission of underground damage and near-miss reports through a completely secure, private web application. They also host a stakeholder advocacy toolkit that assists stakeholders in discovering best practices that have already been identified through the CGA, case studies & legislative activities, and contact information for stakeholder groups that they feel would be beneficial to engage in the process of building a legislative coalition.
The School Pipeline Safety Partnership is a joint program sponsored by the Pipeline Association for Public Awareness and the Danielle Dawn Smalley Foundation. The Partnership's pipeline education program provides information and guidance to school administrators, safety offices and other staff, at schools located near pipelines. Safety information on their site includes information on leak recognition and response, finding pipelines near schools, protecting pipelines near schools, bus driver safety, activities for teachers (including links to the 811 Kids Program), and Safety Plan Checklists.
Pipeline 101 is website that explores different aspects of pipelines — why do we need them, how do they work, where are they located, are they safe, how you can help with safety and the history of pipelines (which spans from the 1800s through modern day). This site takes a look at these topics, as it relates to the 180,000 mile liquid petroleum pipeline network and the 2.4 million mile natural gas pipeline network. Please note that the information presented in Pipeline 101 has been compiled from industry, government and research experts and published materials including 811, the American Petroleum Institute, and the Association of Oil Pipelines.
The Texas Pipeline Awareness Alliance is a group of Texas operators that want to increase public awareness about pipelines and pipeline safety. Their website offers information that can help you to find pipelines, learn about pipelines and their role in daily life, how operators keep lines safe, what to do if you suspect a problem, tips for farmers, and teaching your family about pipeline safety.
First Responder Emergency Response Guidebook
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) developed this Emergency Response Guidebook, to provide first responders with a "go to" manual to help deal with hazmat accidents during the first 30 minutes. Click here to read and download the guide.